How to Promote Critical Thinking with Online Discussion Forums

Online Learning Insights

ImageCritical thinking is an expected learning outcome of higher education along with mastery of a studied discipline. Yet several studies including one outlined in Academically Adrift, suggests that a significant percentage of students are graduating after four years of college with little intellectual growth; critical thinking gains barely budging from the ‘before’ to ‘after’ assessment. Whether the studies are valid or not is not the focus here, but how to teach higher order thinking skills in online learning environments is. I make a case for asynchronous discussions and their value in developing higher order thinking. I recently facilitated a webinar How to Promote Critical Thinking Skills in the Online Class targeted to educators teaching undergraduate or high school students virtually. I include slides from the presentation at the end of the post. Below I highlight the required learning conditions for effective online discussions, and include excerpts from peer-reviewed papers…

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